Evening, thought I would post a response - lots of useful info in the thread to ponder over.
wilburpan I have seen and considered the 9barista, its a lovely looking bit of kit - though my only issue of course is the lack of steamed milk :) - and tbh for the money I would rather save that towards my first machine.
So from browsing the forum the topic of water comes up quite a but - and living in Kent I am in hard water hell. I do have a water softener plumbed into the house (though you are not meant to drink the softened water - and we have a separate tap which just has a active carbon filter… which probably needs changing)
Therefore its something I will need to consider/plan for or at least make sure I have a good cleaning regime.
I have spent way to long browsing youtube etc looking at various reviews/videos about lots of machines. The Bianca does seem to sit in a nice sweet spot of functionality/looks. I did also see the Profitec P600 (which in the Uk seem to come with the flow controls prefitted) - thought I understand its a different pump setup to the Bianca but seems to have a slightly better build.
Stylewise I serious loved the La Marzocco Linea Mini/Micro - and then lost all interest when I googled the price - outside my budget - but love the aethestic.
Besides the research/browsing there has been a constant flow of moka pot coffees - its become a bit of a experiment trying the different coffees I have (some Rave, Ki Coffee - local roaster - and have some Django on the way) and trying to figure out the best way to grind them with the Omega. Not sure I have made much progress - but I am trying to keep the volume of water and coffee constant (160/18) and then adjust the grind size to see it turns out.
TBH I will not lie but the coffee at least to my tastebuds currently all seems quite similar and I have been caught out by not grabbing the pot before the last dregs get pulled.
Tonights attempt will be with a Rave Swiss Decaf - thought that would be better for the evenings :)
With regards to grind settings - is there a sort of graded start point for different roasts ?
ie. Dark roasts usually a bit coarser than a medium, does using decaff require something different - or is it totally coffee bean/roast specific.
For the Mazzer the grind level in the manual has a range of
11-13 French Press
From some videos of the mazzer in action they seem to end up in the very low end of the ranges - so I have been experimenting between 6-7 - trying to find a sweet spot so its not bitter or overdone.
Now one thing I have learnt is that milk fixes almost anything - so if it is bitter etc then its not a total loss.
With regards to the Mazzer Omega hand grinder - though this is all I have owned - its a lovely well engineered piece.
Very easy to clean out - does not lose your settings - feels good in the hand - and its not a burden to use - though I am not doing very fine espresso grinds.
I do get some retention around the burr exit - and a dusting will sit in the cup after tipping out. I assume this is where the light spray of water on the beans before grinding may help ?
Lastly I have been working on my milk frothing using the machine from amazon on the lowest setting so it basically warms up the milk so I can use the handheld to work it into some thing not latte art ready - but it does mix in smoothly without too thick a layer of foam… so progress there 😁